The very existence of the Porsche sports car must rank as one of the more unlikely histories in the automotive world. Yet such was the pioneering spirit of Professor Ferdinand Porsche and his son, Ferry, that the irrepressible 356 eventually saw the light of day, produced behind the doors of an unassuming saw mill in the hills of Austria. These early models were known as the Gmünd 356s, and were fabricated by a band of determined and skilled craftsmen under the watchful eye of Ferry Porsche.
Only 52 of the Gmünd Coupes were built between 1948 and 1950, before production was moved to Stuttgart. Known as the 356/2, these rare hand-made cars are amongst the most sought-after Porsches in the world, and well-known comedian Jerry Seinfeld just happens to have number 040 in his collection. It is not surprising then, with Seinfeld’s fascination for all things Porsche, that his car features prominently in the book, but Porsche – Origin of the Species, is much more than just a write-up on the Seinfeld car.
Ludvigsen has excelled himself in this book, digging deeper than most into the very fabric of the Porsche family, uncovering the desire and commitment behind the formation of not only the 356 model, but the motivation behind the creation of the company as well. The fascinating story looks at the design and engineering work that Porsche carried out for its customers, and charts in detail the company’s early development and how the 356 model came into being. Ludvigsen also recounts the motorsport adventures and achievements by privateers using early Porsche sports cars and Porsche-engined creations.
Lavishly illustrated with many previously unseen family photos, diary copies, and private collections, this book is a treasure chest of jewels, brilliantly researched and written by Ludvigsen, and richly presented by Bentley Publishers.
Porsche—Origin of the Species
Author: Karl Ludvigsen
Foreword by Jerry Seinfeld
Specification: Hardcover, 10 ½ x 10 ½ in, 356 pages, 436 photos and illustrations
Written by: Glen Smale